Will the referendum activities stop?

The Constitutional Court is facing a tough decision, which, in practical terms, depends on whether the referendum campaign will continue and whether it will be voted on September 30 or political chaos in the country will arise.

Nine constitutional judges will tomorrow announce about three initiatives to assess the constitutionality of the decision to call a referendum, which, according to the information, is merged into one case. The initiators are Levica, the World Macedonian Congress and a certain Marjanco Angelovski from Kumanovo, as a natural person.

Interlocutors from the court say that because it is a vast subject, the assessment of the constitutionality of the referendum decision is the only item on the agenda and that a long and difficult discussion is expected. The initial estimates are that “the sense of state interest prevails with the majority of judges and that the initiatives will be rejected, or that the court will declare itself incompetent to decide on them.”

However, it is a risky situation, given the position from which the hearing starts, and that is the report of Judge Elena Goseva who has been appointed as a rapporteur for this case. Interlocutors from the Constitutional Court confirm that Goseva, who was the president of the court in the most critical period of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE (2013-2016), proposes to initiate a procedure for assessing the constitutionality of the decision to hold the referendum.

Considering the distribution of powers in the Constitutional Court, where four more of the judges are from the period when this institution was shook by the scandals and was accused of bias towards the previous ruling headquarters, the risk that the proposal of Goseva will be accepted is realistic. This is where one should also bear in mind that one of the new members of the Constitutional Court is a senior advisor in the cabinet of President Gjorge Ivanov, whose views against the name agreement are widely known. In such a constellation of relations the possibility of outbursts in a ratio of six to three in favor of Goseva’s arguments is not excluded. However, our interlocutors from the court believe that they will not come to that and that the holding of the referendum is not at risk. Allegedly, the majority of the members of the court now hold the view that the referendum is a matter of public interest and that the process must not be threatened.

Former constitutional judge and president of the court Trendafil Ivanovski believes that the initiative to challenge the decision to call a referendum is an attempt to demolish the state. According to him, formally-legal, the court has three options available. The first is to reject the initiative, appreciating that the issue is not appropriate for the Constitutional Court to act. The second may be for the Court to refuse or not to initiate a procedure when it has already been put in a decision-making phase, and the third may decide to initiate a procedure afterwards, and also proceed to an appropriate cancellation or annulment.

Trendafilov fears that by placing the issue for consideration before the Constitutional Court, taking into account the past experience of the work of this judicial structure, it goes to that dark scenario – the demolition of the foundations of the state.

“The demolition of that referendum would mean breaking down those foundations and the survival of the country”, Ivanovski said.

According to him, the Constitutional Court, with its politicization within and the political influences in a period of its activity, when the famous abolition was known, when the president of the state advocated the adoption of such an unconstitutional act, and then the president withdrew it himself, shows that there is such possibility, manifesting in the practice of a single occurrence of the destruction of the very order.

– Let’s hope that reason will prevail among the members of the Constitutional Court, says Ivanovski.

Branko Naumoski, the first ombudsman, and then a constitutional judge and president of the court, addressed the public with a statement. He says he will vote in the referendum, as he states, “for” the agreement with Greece.
-I want to call on all those manipulators, disinformers, quasi-politicians and quasi-patriots, various experts and quasi-analysts, who turned into politicians, analysts and experts due to lucrative motives and clientelism, to stop manipulating and misinforming citizens by calling for a boycott, under the veil that the deal is harmful and manipulative. And at least once, instead of for their own and others’ interests, let us do something for our country”, cites Naumoski in his public statement, among other things.

In the past few days, during the Constitutional Court’s referendum session, part of the leaders of the boycott campaign, such as Janko Bacev, publicly announced that the government, in order to avoid an allegedly failed referendum, will try to escape from it, through a court ruling pronouncing an interim measure to stop voting activities on September 30. The theses, however, of the initiators of the complaints to the Constitutional Court regarding the decision to schedule the referendum are that this document does not contain all the necessary elements, that the referendum question is manipulative and multifaceted, and that the referendum also applies to the alliance with the EU that is a subject to other decision rules.

Aleksandra M. Mitevska